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The Carolines Of This World

This story happened to my husband a few nights ago and I’m still fuming. Husband is more laid back, but I know it bothered him too.

A bit of context first. Where I live, it can take from 10 to 24 months to evict a renter after he’s stopped paying rent. As such, potential landlords are very careful when renting out their apartments and the vast majority ask their renters for a third party to cosign the lease.

On to my story. I wouldn’t call my husband and Andy friends, but they are friendly acquaintances. They were introduced to each other by their mothers who work together and are very close. Andy is younger than my husband so during his university studies he would often call my husband for advice (not surprisingly, he ended up majoring in my husband’s field). They also went out for drinks a couple of times.

When Andy called a few weeks ago asking us very nicely to cosign his and his girlfriend’s lease (I’ll call her Caroline and we’ve never met her), it didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted to help him. During his call Andy explained that they had been looking for an apartment for 2 months and were getting pretty desperate at that point. We gave Andy our reply the next day, sent him the necessary paperwork and he thanked us profusely. A meeting between the landlord, Andy and his girlfriend and my husband was scheduled for two nights ago at 9PM (these are all professionals, so after work was the only time they could all meet).

Now, I wasn’t there for this last part as I had to leave on a business trip, but this is what happened according to my husband. On the day of the meeting, my husband left work at 8PM and went straight to their apartment (that meant a one-hour commute). Hubby had hoped to get this over with quickly, but as always with all the documents that needed checking and signing, he ended up missing the last bus home. When they were done, my husband and Andy started chatting in front of the building. About five minutes in, Caroline (who my husband tells me kept looking at her watch and sighing), finally said: “I hate to break this up, but it’s getting late and Andy and I have to be getting home”. My husband, who had come there straight from work, to help them out of a desperate situation, had missed dinner and the last bus home, was so flabbergasted that he wished them goodnight and left (it was a 30 minute walk on foot).

The rational part of my brain realizes that my husband’s reaction was the correct one, but the less civilized part thinks that the Carolines of the world act the way they do, because no one ever calls them out on their boorish behavior. I keep asking myself if he should have said something to her. What do you think, Miss Jeanne? 0417-15

The responsibility fell upon Andy to have said, “Yes, it is getting late. Please join us for a quick dinner and we’ll drive you home.”   He and Caroline should have discussed their plans earlier and planned on asking your husband to come to dinner with them or offer to drive him home given that your husband had just done a great service that, frankly, I would have been leery of doing.   Andy’s own mother would not co-sign for him but your husband will?  Warning flag.    And the lack of graciousness and gratitude upon receipt of that kindness is another warning sign.

The only reply your husband could have said was, “Yes, it is late and I have a long walk ahead of me before I can eat and relax.   Good bye.”


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Justme April 27, 2015, 5:29 am

    Co-sign for a acquaintances and a stranger?! Hope you are prepared to pay if they walk out. I agree with Admin, it was Andys place to offer some kind of hospitality.

  • just4kicks April 27, 2015, 5:55 am

    Respectfully, OP, I’m a little confused to one of the statements in your story.
    You mentioned that you “wouldn’t exactly call your husband and Andy friends”.
    Yet, Andy went into your husband’s line of work after what sounds like mentoring on your husband’s part, and you’re willing to co-sign a lease for a home/apartment.
    If your husband DOESN’T consider Andy a friend, why would you both be willing to possibly ruin your credit rating and financial status to help him and his ( rude ) girlfriend out?!?
    I have one or two friends who are nice enough people, but not the most “financially responsible”, and while I may enjoy their company over a cocktail or two once in awhile, probably would not entertain co-signing any loans for them.
    And, yes, I do agree “Caroline” sounds like she is not a very nice person.
    If someone goes out of their way for you (and co-signing a lease is going WAAAAAYYY above and beyond), she should’ve been a hell of a lot more gracious and thankful!!!
    That one’s gonna be trouble.

    • Weaver April 27, 2015, 12:37 pm

      As far as the major goes, I read that as ‘not surprising, because my husband and Andy had similar interests, which is part of the reason their mothers thought to introduce them.’ But maybe I’m being too generous to Andy there.

      I definitely agree with you about it possibly being ill-advised to co-sign. I even have immediate family whom I wouldn’t co-sign for (although I would do almost anything else for them), because I can’t rely on their fiscal responsibility. My credit record is rubbish enough as it is! My parents, sister and best friend are the only people I’d put myself on the line for in that respect.

      • just4kicks April 27, 2015, 2:28 pm

        @Weaver: My husband and I have a few family members like that as well.
        They’ll show up at our home, usually unannounced, and show us all the pictures from their two week vacation to Fiji, and the lovely safari in Africa, etc.
        Fast forward two weeks, and we get a message, (funny how they don’t show up in person for THAT!), “Yeah….we are a little strapped this month, and, ummmmm, well you know how bad this damn economy is, and could you float us $$$$$ until, well, we will figure out when we can pay you back…you’re life savers….smooches!!!”
        Yeah……NO. Just….No.
        Of course, that makes us a$$holes, and usually elicits the time tried and true “but….but….we are FAAAMMMMMILLLLYYYYY!!!”

    • Vermin8 April 27, 2015, 12:47 pm

      I’d like to hear more about the cosigning. I’m assuming this is not in the US – I’ve never heard of that. In the US, cosigning is the same as taking on the responsibiility as if you were the primary signer. Is it the same where OP lives?

      • Ergala April 27, 2015, 2:10 pm

        Vermin it’s when you have someone sign saying they will take on responsibility if you don’t pay/damage the property. Same as when someone cosigns for a loan.

        • Vermin8 April 28, 2015, 11:11 am

          I understand cosigning – what I haven’t heard of is having to provide a cosigner to sign a lease for young working professsionals (unless their credit rating is really, really bad).
          I’m assuming that this is not in the US – that would explain the late quitting work time and a possible late dinner (I think Europeans often eat dinner around 9). If so, does cosigning have the same financial implications or is it more like a character reference?

  • Michelle April 27, 2015, 6:05 am

    I would think that the third party has to be non related so therefore mother wouldn’t be an option…I think this could be put down as a mis understanding. If no prior arrangements were made to catch up after for drinks or to eat I would assume that you would want to be getting home after a long day at work. Did they know you had no transport home? I would hope if they get the apartment they will invite you both over for a thank you dinner or something.

    • Goldie April 27, 2015, 1:33 pm

      I co-signed for my both children’s apartment leases, one in CA, the other one in OH. So mother is very much an option. And I, too, have been wondering why she couldn’t or wouldn’t cosign for this couple… fingers crossed for the OP because this smells fishy.

  • Robyn April 27, 2015, 6:56 am

    Did they know your husband had not eaten yet? At 8-9PM I would have assumed he would have already eaten even if he was coming straight from work as that to me seems an extremely late time of night to eat dinner. Also, perhaps the couple in question had already eaten. I do think they failed on offering your DH a ride home but I also think your husband should have indicated that he had missed his bus and asked them if they wouldn’t mind taking him home.

    • JO April 27, 2015, 3:11 pm

      I agree with this. Also add that Caroline may have seemed a bit brusque but bearing in mind that it was late she may have been quite tired herself.

  • MM April 27, 2015, 6:58 am

    Am I missing something? Why is Caroline automatically at fault? Because she was looking at her watch and sighing? If the signing was supposed to start at 9 and went on for at least an hour that is late if you have to be up for work in the morning. She doesn’t know the husband. I’m guessing that OP thinks that Caroline was really rude and

    Andy should have offered a ride home (he is husband’s friend). Now if Andy did offer and she said no then I would understand. Maybe Andy and Caroline didn’t know the last bus had gone by? Also, sometimes it really bothers me when people expect others to read their minds. OP, I’m sure your husband is decent guy but he could have asked for a ride home. How are the other two supposed to know he doesn’t have a ride? It’s possible that you were picking him up?

    What happened wasn’t the ideal situation, yes. But I also don’t really see how Caroline was so rude as to be titled in this submission. Seems like Andy slipped up more than she did. I agree with Admin that Andy is not looking too good here.

    • Weaver April 27, 2015, 1:00 pm

      Agreed. Looking at your watch and sighing is rude in almost any circumstances, but I’m a little tired of women being held accountable for their husbands’ lack of social graces. (I don’t mean in this forum particularly, which usually blames the right spouse for their actions). But it can get annoying in general.

      • just4kicks April 27, 2015, 2:30 pm

        @My husband is late for everything. I do mean everything.
        I stopped “covering” for him years ago….It’s very liberating.

  • CaffeineKatie April 27, 2015, 7:00 am

    I can see where Andy and Caroline should have offered your husband a ride home, but dinner? After 9 p.m. I would have assumed he had already eaten. And there is NO WAY I would ever co-sign a lease or loan; if you think this is rude behavior, what are you going to think when you are stuck making their rent payments?!?

  • Ulla April 27, 2015, 7:11 am

    I’m not perfectly sure what to make of this. Were they at the new apartment they were going to rent? I assume they were, because they did not stay inside the building to chat. So, did Andy and Caroline have car or how were they getting home? Was there possibility for them to drive him home or did they walk or commute themselves? If they did have, why Husband did not ask if they could drive him as he had missed last bus (did they know he had missed last bus)? While begging rides is not usually that polite, given that he had just done great service to them, I think it would have been perfectly okay to ask. Of course, it would have been better if they had offered. On that notion, did they know how Husband got there? If they’d be assuming he has car, that might also explain not offering.

    I don’t actually see Caroline’s comment itself that rude or terrible (sighing and watching clock is not polite of course), but I think I lack few important facts. For example: Did she know, where Husband lived? Did she know Husband came straight from work? I think it’s important, because if I’d agree on 9pm meeting, without further information, it’s so that they can eat after work before coming around.

    So, maybe my problem with the story is that I don’t actually get what OP thinks Andy and Caroline should have done. Offered a dinner and ride (which, I would have been nice and reasonable)? If so, were they aware of the questions above or not. And if discussion was had only with Andy, then that is up to Andy to relay the information to his girlfriend and act accordingly. Should Caroline just stayed there and waited for them to discuss undisturbed. I’d say, this would be optimal if time was not problem, but if it starts to be 10pm, even more, I think it’s perfectly fine for cut the discussion bit shorter. Especially if next day is workday for some of them. And I think this holds even if one of them had done a favour. Then obviously it would be good form to invite Husband over or do something else nice for him. But I can’t see how etiquette would demand them to stand outside chatting basically in the middle of the night

  • Tracy P April 27, 2015, 7:11 am

    I have re-read the OP’s letter and I have yet to see what Caroline did wrong. The looking at her watch and sighing are a bit obnoxious, but not that bad. As for what she said, unless she was using a snotty tone, then I think it was perfectly fine. For all we know, Andy likes to chat and make Caroline and him late to things. And Caroline and Andy could have had plans for after the signing.

    I also think that Admin is reading too much into the letter. Who knows why Andy’s mom refused to sign. Maybe she’s not very well off and is smart enough to not take on something she can’t handle. Maybe she doesn’t like the idea of Andy and Caroline living together before marriage and won’t sign for a lease that would facilitate that.

    The OP never states that Andy and Caroline didn’t thank the OP’s husband. They just didn’t read his mind and know somehow that they were supposed to take him out to dinner and drive him home? Sure it would have been nice, but after 9 at night, I would have assumed that anyone else would have eaten dinner. The OP’s husband is an adult. He knew ahead of time that he would have to go to this directly after work and could have taken something to eat at work or a snack to munch on or something.

    I put this on the OP’s husband and lack of communication. Andy and Caroline asked for a favor. OP’s husband was nice enough to help them out, but didn’t outline what he expected of them in return and is now upset that he didn’t get what he expected? How is that Caroline being rude?

    Another thought – this was a recent event, maybe Andy and Caroline will invite the OP and husband over to the new apartment once they’ve moved in and thank them with a nice meal in the new place.

  • shhh its me April 27, 2015, 7:29 am

    While I agree with admin that “Yes, its late……..” is all LW husband could reply with and that it carried enough info to give Andy and Caroline the chance to rectify the situation. What I do disagree with is the implication that Caroline and Andy should have known Husband missed dinner and the bus. I think we have to be very very careful throwing people in Ehell (or judging their character) based on what we assume they know or remember. It’s just as reasonable an assumption that Husband ate at 6pm and would also really like to get home. AS to the bus (I don’t live in a place that has public transportation) how “obvious” was it that Husband missed the last bus , do all the buses always stop at 10pm? did Andy and Caroline even know Husband took the bus , do Andy and Caroline normally drive and not have to think about the bus schedule ? Did they even have a car to offer a ride or were they walking home themselves? The inability to anticipate what people need in rare circumstances isn’t necessary inconsiderate , unlike how many appetizer per person (which there are 100s in not 1000s of easy to read guides) I don’t see to many guides “How to considerate and make sure your friends have a convenient way home from late night business meetings” Of course , if LW just skipped “10 minutes earlier my Husband said “shoot I missed the last bus I’ll have to walk home 2 miles.” then yes they knew.

  • Mary April 27, 2015, 7:30 am

    I agree that they were rude, but I’m even more concerned about co-signing a lease for someone who isn’t a best friend or family member.

  • Hanna April 27, 2015, 7:31 am

    I honestly don’t see the big deal about the comment. If the girl had never even met either of you, do you think she even knew that your husband commuted 1 hour, or that he missed his bus home? Do you think she knew when your husband usually eats dinner, or that he missed his? It seems like a pretty innocent comment to me.

    On the other hand, I would also be very leery about co-signing a loan for someone you wouldn’t even consider a friend. Who advised that to you?! You do know that could possibly mean you’d end up flipping the entire bill FOR them, right??

  • mark2 April 27, 2015, 7:35 am

    You know, I might be the odd one out, but I’m not getting it. First there’s such unnecessary detail in this story, but the final gist is that a woman,who probably has worked all day, gone to a long late merting, very calmly says “I’m sorry we have to be going?” She’s tired, she’s hungry and she wants to go home. Ok, so maybe they should have extended more hostessness here, but if it’s 10 or 11 at night, geesh, people just need to get home. Now, are we making an assumption this couple had a car? If so, sure they should have taken him home. If I were OP’s husband, I would have just asked–sometimes people after a long hard day, maybe with a headache, having missed proper dinner, befuddled from all the paperwork they just went through, just simply are so foggy headed that they forget to extend small graciousness. And aren’t we also making a big assumption that they didn’t know that man had eaten dinner? If somebody was meeting me at 9 o’clock at night, I would have assumed he would have already eaten dinner, and I would not be asking him out for a quick bite. Lots of people can’t even eat that late at night for various reasons, myself being one of them.

  • Michele April 27, 2015, 7:43 am

    Admin had the perfect response, but “Caroline” sounds like she would have let the meaning behind the words sail right over her head. Andy seems like a nice enough guy, but not very mature. Given that he asked the favor, yes, he should have insisted on taking the writers husband out to dinner as a thank you and made sure that he had a way home.

    I think the husband should have called the landlord the next morning and told him that he would prefer not to have his name on the lease…

  • Anon April 27, 2015, 7:44 am

    I dont’ know, I wouldn’t be so quick to cast Caroline into Ehell. There’s so much we don’t know about the situation. Maybe her job has her up very early? Maybe they already had dinner. (If they hadn’t had dinner, why wouldn’t this be something that was discussed and planned in advance?) It’s pretty unusual to eat that late–10pm??, at least in my experience. Perhaps they had other plans that night, something they discussed in advance, and Andy wasn’t holding up his end by concluding the evening in an efficient manner? Given that Caroline may have had a perfectly reasonable reason for wanting to get on with her evening, do we know with certainty that both she and Andy were aware of the OP’s husband’s situation (came straight from work, no dinner, missed the bus), and do we even know if they own a car?

    Yes, the OP’s husband is doing them a big favor, though I have similar questions about why a relative stranger would co-sign for an apartment, putting the OP and her husband financially on the hook if these two flake, rather than one of their parents.

    The whole thing just seems off to me.

  • Maria April 27, 2015, 7:48 am

    If I was meeting somebody at 9pm I’d have expected them to have had dinner before then. So unless Andy and Caroline somehow knew for sure that the OP’s husband hadn’t had dinner, I can’t throw them in eHell for not asking him to join them.

    I do agree with the Admin on the rest though – I wouldn’t have co-signed either, and worry what will come of it.

    • Library Diva April 27, 2015, 1:29 pm

      Caroline may have even thought she was doing the polite thing by cutting this already-long day short for everyone.

  • Miss-E April 27, 2015, 7:48 am

    I can’t resist playing devil’s advocate here: I think it is entirely possible that Caroline had absolutely no idea that the OPs husband had skipped dinner and taken an hour-long bus ride. To her perspective, its late, she’s tired and now her boyfriend is standing in the street doing the Long Goodbye.

    Yes, it would have been polite to offer to take him to dinner or drinks as a thank-you but I think that falls for more to Andy than Caroline, as Andy is the one who actually knows the husband. I feel like maybe the OP is being a bit harsh on this girl, who she has never met, over an interaction in the street that she didn’t even witness.

  • WillyNilly April 27, 2015, 8:08 am

    I have to say I don’t see what Caroline did wrong at all.

    Did she know your husband had no comfortable way home? Did she and Andy have a car themselves? Is there a reason your husband couldn’t speak up? These two felt comfortable asking your husband to co-sign a lease, surely he could speak up and ask for a lift; its ridiculous to expect them to read his mind, it was late after a long work day for them too and perhaps emotionally exhausting. Its appropriate for adults to use verbal communication and not just expect others to anticipate all their needs. For all Caroline knew your husband was just standing there chatting with no concerns about how he would get home.

    And if he could not, why couldn’t he take a cab? A 30 minute walk is 2-3 miles, if you are financially solvent enough to take in the risk of paying someone else’s rent surely a few bucks for a cab could be scrounged up. If he had called as soon as he realized he had missed the bus, it would have been reroute as he was standing there chatting.

    • Jessica April 27, 2015, 4:33 pm


    • PatGreen April 28, 2015, 3:03 am

      I completely agree. I live in a place with bad public transportation and I assume that everyone has a car. If not than I assume adults are capable of calling a cab, uber, etc. I have asked for and been asked for rides in the past. If I trusted someone enough to pay for their apartment should things go wrong than I could certainly ask for a ride.

  • WillyNilly April 27, 2015, 8:08 am

    I have to say I don’t see what Caroline did wrong at all.

    Did she know your husband had no comfortable way home? Did she and Andy have a car themselves? Is there a reason your husband couldn’t speak up? These two felt comfortable asking your husband to co-sign a lease, surely he could speak up and ask for a lift; its ridiculous to expect them to read his mind, it was late after a long work day for them too and perhaps emotionally exhausting. Its appropriate for adults to use verbal communication and not just expect others to anticipate all their needs. For all Caroline knew your husband was just standing there chatting with no concerns about how he would get home.

    And if he could not, why couldn’t he take a cab? A 30 minute walk is 2-3 miles, if you are financially solvent enough to take in the risk of paying someone else’s rent surely a few bucks for a cab could be scrounged up. If he had called as soon as he realized he had missed the bus, it would have been reroute as he was standing there chatting.

  • April Obe April 27, 2015, 8:29 am

    The OP doesn’t say… did husband mention to Andy that he had missed his bus and dinner? Did Andy know? After all if he’s not a close friend, he might not know that OP’s husband doesn’t drive or he may not know that he didn’t have a ride arranged, etc.
    I’m assuming Andy and Caroline did know, or there would be no reason to be upset.

    Admin’s reply was good. Even “Yes, you’re right. I have a long walk ahead of me.” Would have been good too. But she’s right, that interaction right after signing paperwork to help them was not a good indicator of future interactions. Yikes. Good luck to you OP!

    I can’t say I fault Andy for not wanting his Mom to sign. I have a great relationship with my Mom, but there could be a lot of reasons for choosing someone else.

  • GeenaG April 27, 2015, 8:36 am

    From the attitude displayed I would see if I could back out of the cosign. There could be a cooling off period where you live and I would strongly urge you to find out and act on it if there is. I don’t think these people would have any problem with you paying their rent for two years. I’m not 100% sure if you understand that this is exactly what you have promised to do in the event they don’t pay the rent for any reason. That could include just not wanting to. Collectors will come after whoever they can collect from. I would not cosign anything, not even for my adult children.

    • bern821 April 27, 2015, 12:35 pm

      I have to agree with most posters – unless Andy and Caroline knew for sure that OP’s husband had missed the last bus and would have to walk home, then her prompting Andy to wrap it up so they could get home wasn’t rude (outside of the sighing/watch checking routine).
      The big issue here is that they co-signed a lease for someone (anyone)! Perhaps OP doesn’t realize that if they stop paying the rent, she and her husband are on the hook and could potentially have their credit ruined unless they cover the debt. You’re not just ‘vouching’ for someone when you co-sign, you’re equally responsible for the debt. Not sure I’d want to be on that hook for someone who didn’t offer to drive me home so late at night regardless of whether or not another bus was coming. Good luck, OP. Let’s hope they pay the rent and don’t break the lease.

    • psammead April 27, 2015, 6:17 pm

      “I don’t think these people would have any problem with you paying their rent for two years.”

      As others have pointed out, unless it’s common in OP’s city for people to memorize the entire transit schedule, Caroline had no way of knowing that OP’s husband had missed the last bus home, much less that he had missed dinner in order to do this favor for her and her BF. Conversely, OP’s husband had no way of knowing how early Caroline had to get up the next morning, or whether she had yet more stuff to do that night before she could get to bed. At best this is mild rudeness that can probably be chalked up to tiredness after a long day.

      To jump from there to the conclusion that she and her husband are probably deadbeats who will stick OP’s husband with their rent for two years is a very long leap indeed.

  • TightlyKnit April 27, 2015, 8:53 am

    I’m wondering if this is an issue of miscommunication. If OP’s husband didn’t communicate that he missed the last bus and would be walking home, and Andy didn’t communicate to Caroline that OP’s husband would be returning with them or joining them for dinner, her assumption would be that it was getting late and OP’s husband was overstaying his welcome. Especially if it got to be so late that the last bus (in my area, around 1:00am) had past. OP says he left work at 8, arrived at about 9 and then signed documents for hours – far too late for supper time expectations. Could Caroline have been trying to politely drop hints (looking at her watch) to indicate she had to be up early for work?

    Obviously the situation could have been handled better, with a gracious thank-you! But I’m not convinced Caroline is entirely at fault in this incident.

    • psammead April 27, 2015, 6:24 pm

      Even if Caroline had to be up early for work, she should have been more gracious about it–she sounded like she was dismissing OP’s husband now that he had done what he came to do. When someone has done a massive favor like cosigning a lease for you, I don’t think they can be considered to “overstay their welcome” even if they decide to hang out for an hour or more.

      Still, I don’t think this is such a massive piece of rudeness that it warrants fuming over it for days. And TBQH, the OP sounds like someone who will still be fuming about it years from now.

  • Vic April 27, 2015, 8:54 am

    Caroline was definitely abrupt, especially considering the big favor the husband did for them. But, if it was me, I would have assumed he had grabbed something to eat before he came, considering the appointment was so late at night. Andy may have known that he had just left work. But I wouldn’t assume that Caroline did. As for walking home, again Andy may have known about the bus schedule and that this was the husbands only way home. But I personally have never ridden buses (I don’t live in a city with a good bus system. So you have to own a car to get around.) Based on my own experience, I wouldn’t assume Caroline knew the bus schedules and that he had missed the last bus. Without being told otherwise, I would have assumed that he had the means to get home since he got himself there. I think the husband should have just told them he’d missed the last bus and asked them for a ride. If they acted put out at the request, then you have the right to be offended. But with the info given, I feel that because it was so late at night, everyone was tired and maybe not thinking as clearly as they otherwise would have. Caroline is not a mind reader. So I would give her a pass based on the story given.

  • CW April 27, 2015, 9:09 am

    I mean, yeah, it would have been polite and friendly for Andy to offer dinner and a drive home, but I wouldn’t fume over it for days.

  • Lerah99 April 27, 2015, 9:15 am

    I agree with the concern that they need an acquaintance to co-sign for them. Why don’t they have any relatives or close friends who are willing to do this?

    It was rude of Caroline and Andy not to offer any food or transportation. But it appears to be an oversight rather than an intentional snub.

    My guess is that Caroline and Andy also came directly from work. So Caroline was focused on the fact that she was tired, hungry, wanted to go home and didn’t think about the letter writer’s husband. Hopefully they will show their appreciation for the letter writer and her husband in another way like taking them out to lunch or having them over for dinner at the apartment.

  • Mags April 27, 2015, 9:17 am

    As for your question, I agree that they were not very thoughtful in offering your husband a ride, assuming that they were aware that he hadn’t driven there himself. IMO if they were aware that he was planning to take a bus, then they should have offered him the ride. If they were aware that he had missed the bus, then certainly they should have.

    But that seems trivial to me. I am with Admin — I cannot believe you co-signed a lease when you knew that he had an employed parent whom he could have asked first. I would never co-sign anything for anyone except my kids. When you co-sign, you take on all the financial responsibilities with none of the ownership rights. The way I think about it is that you are agreeing to give the other person whatever it is they are buying if they decide that they don’t want to pay for it themselves. So when someone asks us to cosign for a vehicle (which has happened), I don’t hear “the bank just needs someone to put their name down” (which is what we were told), but rather “will you pay for this vehicle for me?” and if my answer to that is no, then no, I won’t co-sign. (Good call on our part too, as said person did indeed stop making payments on his vehicle).

    • PatGreen April 28, 2015, 3:16 am

      Had the same experience being asked to co-sign for a car. After we refused they complained because they would not be able to get the car now and had already posted pictures on facebook telling everyone what car they were going to get. We didn’t want to embarrass them did we?

      We still said no.

  • Markko April 27, 2015, 9:20 am

    Oh, my!!! I learned the hard way never to co-sign for anything. Even if people can be trusted sometimes, circumstances can never be trusted. I fear the E-Hell Dame is absolutely correct- you will regret this. The man seems spineless, so you are really making the deal with Caroline, a woman you do not know. I wish you success with this, although I doubt you will have it.

    • Lerah99 April 28, 2015, 11:43 am


      My aunt cosigned for her son’s car.
      At the time he was a very responsible university student working on a Masters degree.

      A little less than a year later he was out running and got hit by a car. He was in the hospital for weeks. The accident wiped out all of his savings.

      He had to break the lease on his apartment. He lost his part time bar tending job. He lost the grant that was paying for his Masters Degree. He had to move back in with his mom. And had almost a year of physical therapy before he was really steady on his feet again.

      While all of that was going on, his mom got stuck with his car payment.

      No real fault of my cousin. It’s not like he just stopped paying so he could go out and party. But the car company doesn’t care. My aunt cosigned, so she was responsible when he could no longer pay.

      Even the most responsible people might have an unexpected issue pop up in their life (illness, injury, death, loss of job, etc…) that will prevent them from making future payments. Unless you are in a place where you can and would be happy to take over those payments for them – don’t co-sign.

  • Library Diva April 27, 2015, 9:20 am

    Was Caroline privy to the fact that OP’s husband had skipped dinner, come straight from work and missed his bus home to do all this? If not, that sort of changes things. Overall, I don’t think what she did was so horrible. It’s a late night for everyone. For Caroline, it’s been a long, stressful couple of months capped off by at least a 12.5 hour day of work and paper signings. She herself was probably getting tired and hangry. A million things could have been going on: she could have been developing a migraine, she may have needed to pack and try to squeeze in a decent amount of sleep before leaving for a business trip at 6 AM the next day, you just don’t know. Yes, OP’s husband was there doing her a favor, and she could have been a bit more gracious. But I’d give her at least one more chance before consigning her to E-hell, given that you guys didn’t meet under very good circumstances. On her second chance, she may even apologize for being curt at the lease signing.

  • Yet Another Laura April 27, 2015, 9:22 am

    It would not have been rude for your husband to ask if they’d drive him home.

    As someone who has a car, I don’t know the bus schedule in my town, though I do know it can be abysmal in places. I don’t think Caroline was necessarily boorish. She might not have known your husband missed the last bus.

    Best: Caroline and Andy treat your husband to dinner and a ride home.

    Second best: Your husband asks for a ride home. A 30 minute walk for me is about 2 miles assuming I’m moving at a comfortable pace for me and I don’t have to stop and wait at any lights. More realistically, it’s about 1.5 miles, hardly out of anyone’s way.

    If there is one misconception I’d like to see die a fiery death, it’s that people are expected to be telepathic. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride.

    • KenderJ April 27, 2015, 12:57 pm

      “If there is one misconception I’d like to see die a fiery death, it’s that people are expected to be telepathic.”

      This^^^ A million times This^^^. So many times we label people as rude because they failed to read our minds. I tell people my crystal ball is cracked and my magic mirror never work properly so they have to give me the information they want me to have.

  • JC April 27, 2015, 9:23 am

    Honestly, I think you and your husband are flabbergasted about the wrong thing here.

    Caroline was rather rude but I wonder if she was aware of the commute plus the fact that your husband didn’t have a ride. Even so, it’s the minor sort of rudeness I would just shrug off and be glad I don’t have to deal with such a person on a regular basis.

    OP, I hope it works out for you but you should NEVER have co-signed that loan (or any loan, actually). As Miss Jeanne already pointed out, if their immediate family isn’t willing to do it, there’s probably a good reason. If someone had gotten to the point in a search for a co-signer that they were asking a friendly acquaintance to do it, and said acquaintance were me, I don’t think I could keep the surprise off my face while telling them “absolutely not, sorry” with no hesitation.

    • Alchemy April 30, 2015, 6:42 pm

      ” As Miss Jeanne already pointed out, if their immediate family isn’t willing to do it, there’s probably a good reason.”

      To expand on this:
      * The landlord’s agency presumably pulled their credit and determined their income, and decided they didn’t earn enough to afford the place and/or they had a habit of not paying rent or other bills. That’s why they want a guarantor.
      * The immediate family members, who might have a slightly different view and a better estimation of their character, also decided the risk of being a guarantor was too high.
      * The OP’s husband, who has never even met Caroline, decided he knew her situation better than her family or the landlord (who has her credit report and paystubs in her application) and decided to pledge his (financial) life to her.
      * The OP, who likely shares a lot of assets with her husband, now has those assets in Caroline’s hands.

  • abby April 27, 2015, 9:29 am

    Wow- OP and her husband agreed to be co-signers for an acquaintance and his girlfriend that they’ve never met? Very kind, but not necessarily advised.

    I didn’t see where Andy’s mother wouldn’t sign, but perhaps she could not- some landlords insist on a certain income level or credit score of the co-signer and Andy’s mother may not have qualified. But I cannot imagine the stones it would take to call up an acquaintance that I had went out with several times and knew mostly on a superficial level to co-sign a lease for me. Even if he asked nicely and thanked you profusely, that is such a ridiculously huge favor to ask of someone you wouldn’t even call a friend.

    I would say the fact that he even asked is a huge red flag. There was NO ONE else in his life that was either qualified or willing to sign? And he felt this was an appropriate favor to ask of someone? This is not like providing a reference for a job. Depending on the rental market, you could be out thousands of dollars, all for a guy you went out for drinks with a couple times but wouldn’t call a friend.

    Did Andy and Caroline realize, OP, that your husband had taken the bus there and missed dinner? Perhaps he thought your husband had driven himself and had already eaten? If you’re sure that this is not the case, then I would say Andy is a huge user and far worse in this situation than Caroline. It appears he calls when he wants something (professional advice, a co-signer, etc) and once the favor has been completed, he goes on his merry way. I am not sure why Caroline is getting the bad rap here.

  • Gabriele April 27, 2015, 9:51 am

    Depending on the term of the lease (1 year?) I would monitor the situation carefully and if asked to sign on again….accept or reject the request.
    As far as Caroline, she may be coming from a world where someone else is responsible for the hard stuff so I could foresee problems coming up either in the lease or the relationship. Perhaps Andy in his youth expects Caroline to already know the finer points of courtesy and responsibility.
    I wonder also how possessive she will be with Andy’s time..tyour husband may hear from Andy less and less…unless Andy (and Caroline) need help with something…
    You might want to let your MIL know about that event so she can perhaps listen more carefully to what Andy’s mother has to say about Andy and Caroline’s relationship…and since your husband signed the lease papers I hope he got a copy so he knows what he’s responsible for…just in case.

  • AMC April 27, 2015, 10:14 am

    I have to ask because it wasn’t clear to me until half-way through the story, were Andy and Caroline aware that OP’s husband didn’t have a ride home? I live in a city where, though public transportation is available, most people own their own vehicles. Could Caroline and Andy have assumed that Husband had driven his own car or had otherwise secured a ride? Of course, if they’re such close friends, it’s likely they would have known that Husband did not have his own car. Either way, they should have thanked him for his help and asked if he needed a ride.

  • Sarah April 27, 2015, 10:18 am

    I do agree that I would be worried if neither of his parents were comfortable signing the lease but it may be a condition that the person is in full-time employment or a home owner. I do think that Caroline behaved very badly – the very, very least I would expect is a ride home (even if the buses were still running) Dinner would have been nice, in fact really that should be a dinner in the new home or in a mid-range restaurant. The OP´s husband is one of the good guys – acting as a co-signer? Quite an ask. As for gratitude – life has taught me that like the saying “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” the gratitude you get is often the amount shown by the person showing least! As Admin says Andy should have stepped up but did not (and that despite his gratitude up to then)

  • Shoegal April 27, 2015, 10:38 am

    So we’re blaming Caroline for this? And also, I’m not sure if Andy was under any obligation to have offered dinner and a ride home. It would have been nice but just because you do someone a favor does that automatically entitle the OP’s husband to whatever he thinks is necessary? I agree that the OP’s husband couldn’t very well demand dinner and a ride home. This story doesn’t say anything about the OP’s husband hinting at it or that Andy knew that the OP’s husband missed the last bus home. Can the OP honestly say that had Andy known that the OP’s husband needed a ride he would not have offered one? Did Andy know he came right from work and missed dinner? Was he supposed to think all this through and ask anyway? Like I said, it would have been a good thing to do but I don’t know if it wasn’t a case of thoughtlessness.

  • lakey April 27, 2015, 10:44 am

    Of course, their treatment of your husband was rude and ungrateful. I really hope you and your husband understand the legal and financial implications of co-signing. This is not etiquette related, but I would check my credit rating every so often.

  • Politrix April 27, 2015, 10:55 am

    I really like admin’s reply, and think it’s quite appropriate for that show of rudeness. But to be fair, I also might cut Caroline and Andy some slack, even though they DO come off as incredibly boorish and ungrateful at the moment.
    According to the OP, Andy DID express gratitude for all that OP’s husband did, and maybe the stress of finding and obtaining an apartment finally came to a head with Caroline (I know how stressful it can e to find a place, not to mention doing so under pressure) — so that she momentarily forgot her manners. It happens, we’re all human.
    As far as Andy’s own mother not co-signing being a red flag, I have to respectfully disagree. We don’t know the situation between Andy and his mother — maybe relatives aren’t allowed to co-sign a lease; maybe his mother is ill or otherwise incapacitated (or lives in another state or country); maybe Andy doesn’t want to feel he has to depend on Mom for everything; who knows.
    Here’s hoping Andy and Caroline call the OP’s husband to apologize for their lack of manners, and take OP and Husband out to dinner as a show of gratitude, and the two couples can put the whole thing behind them.

    • Asharah April 27, 2015, 12:03 pm

      Are we even sure Andy’s mom is even living in this particular city or state?

      • Goldie April 27, 2015, 1:39 pm

        It doesn’t matter where she lives, it can all be done online. I emailed my co-signed form to the landlord in one case and faxed it in the other.

        • CSmithy April 28, 2015, 7:10 pm

          Some landlords don’t allow out-of-state or out-of-region guarantors.

      • Kendra April 28, 2015, 9:38 am

        On that note, do we know if Andy’s mom is living?

  • INeedANap April 27, 2015, 11:03 am

    Cosign with admin — not sure why OP is admonishing only Caroline, when as the go-between, it should have fallen to Andy. It’s possible Caroline doesn’t know OP’s husband takes the bus, but surely Andy would have.

    As an aside, it’s possible the landlord does not allow family members to serve as third-party cosigners. That was true for my living situation.

  • Ashley April 27, 2015, 11:09 am

    So if he missed the last bus, how exactly did he get home? Did he have to wait till buses started up again? Did Andy and Caroline really leave him in the lurch like that?

    This whole situation is just bizarre to me, because I just don’t understand the three party lease thing, because it doesn’t happen where I live.

    But I agree with Admin, there should have been a plan in place for if this ran late and your husband needed dinner and a ride home, and yes it should have fallen on Andy and Caroline, because they were the reason he missed those things to begin with.

    • AMC April 27, 2015, 1:53 pm

      OP says at the end of paragraph 5 that Husband walked 30 minutes home.

    • Ergala April 27, 2015, 2:16 pm

      Ashley the OP says her husband walked home.

      • Ashley April 28, 2015, 11:09 am

        Oh I misread it now, it’s an hour commute from the office to Andy and Caroline’s apartment, but only a half hour from the apartment home. I was picturing an hour commute both ways, and I was thinking yeah it would be crazy to let him walk what is an hour on a bus, because that would turn into like, 2 hours walking.

  • Lisa H. April 27, 2015, 11:11 am

    I fail to see how this is Caroline’s fault. Perhaps she did not know how Andy got to the apartment in the first place. And if he did indeed miss the last bus, and no offer or a ride was mentioned, then it’s on HIM to bring it up. They are not mind readers, and sometimes I’m just so engrossed in things at hand that I might overlook the obvious.

  • ally April 27, 2015, 11:18 am

    I’m sorry to say I don’t see what Caroline did wrong. Why didn’t the OPs husband ask for a ride home, if they are so close that he cosigned for them (by the way, something I would never do for anyone!). I think Caroline’s huffing was not polite, and unless the tone of voice was very nasty, I don’t see how her wording was bad. Sounds like it was pushing 10pm or later, and i’d wan’t too

    • ally April 27, 2015, 11:21 am

      (Sorry, post got cut off, posting from my phone)

      I was saying that I’d want to get started driving home and going to bed at that time too. If I knew the husband was leaving straight from work at 8pm, I’d assume that he had a dinner break at work, and while it was clueless not to ask or offer dinner, I don’t think it was rude not to.

      • just4kicks April 28, 2015, 1:39 am

        @Ally: yesterday when I first read this, I was firmly planted in the “Caroline was rude” camp.
        After reading many comments defending her, I read it again a few times.
        Maybe she didn’t know how long of a day OP’ s husband had, or if he had eaten dinner already, neither of which is her fault, I agree.
        But, even after re-reading, I still think she was rude because OP’ s husband had gone out of HIS way to HELP them.
        It sounds like this financial help was their last option, and instead of making it sound like “Oh my gosh! What a huge help this is to us!!! Thank you, and thank your wife!”, She came across as irritated and annoyed.

        • Devin April 28, 2015, 9:59 am

          It’s also only been 2 nights since the ‘incident’. I would wait a week or two (I’m guessing the couple will be busy moving now) to see if a more formal thank you arrives. They might be planning on hosting you for dinner once the new place is set up, or there could be a nice card in the mail, its only been 2 days! After 10 pm on a work night, I would looking to wrap up any chit chat and head for home myself.

          Also, I wonder about the co-signer issue. I’m wondering if it is an issue that the co-signer must live in the same municipality (in case they stop paying, the owner of the property can easily litigate against the co-signer), or be a home owner themselves?

  • Lori April 27, 2015, 11:21 am

    I’m not clear that Andy and Caroline even knew that the husband needed a ride. To give Caroline the benefit of the doubt, she may not have realized that the husband did not have his own transportation. I would not immediately assume so unless it had been a topic of conversation. And why couldn’t husband have said “Hey, I missed the last bus, can you give me a ride home?” I don’t know if it’s Caroline and Andy’s fault for not offering something they may not have known was needed, and if husband knew he needed a ride home, I’m inclined to place the blame on him for not asking instead of saying nothing and waiting for it to be offered. Asking for a ride home would certainly not be an etiquette breach. If it had been established that he needed a ride and they did not offer (whether or not he asked), THAT would be rude.

  • LadyV April 27, 2015, 11:23 am

    Being that I’m not a nice person, I would have walked back into the leasing office, asked for the paperwork, and torn it up. Why should OP’s husband do ANYTHING for someone that unappreciative – especially if it means taking a huge financial risk?

  • The Elf April 27, 2015, 11:26 am

    Call me crazy, but the biggest problem is here is this third party co-signing bs. No way I’m co-signing for anyone in any situation. That drags me into their debt.

    I have a question, that I think changes a lot – Did Andy and Caroline know about Husband’s lack of a ride and dinner? I’m not sure from reading this. If they didn’t know, then I call no foul on this. It was probably past 10 and that IS late. They owe Husband thanks, prompt payment on debts he is tied to, and that’s about it. But if Andy and Caroline knew, then it’s a much bigger deal.

    • Jaxsue April 29, 2015, 5:28 pm

      I totally agree with you about co-signing. Just watch a few judge shows on TV; half the cases are about stuff like this!

  • Kelly April 27, 2015, 11:36 am

    I would not have co-signed for anyone in the first place, but I’m not sure how Andy and Caroline (who were not good friends after all) were supposed to know/guess that the husband had missed a bus and was walking home. He seemed to be chatting nonchalantly with Andy afterward. Why did he not say “hey, would you guys mind dropping me off at home? I missed the last bus.” So many of these scenarios could be made better by simple communication.

  • Weaver April 27, 2015, 12:00 pm

    Question: Is co-signing the same as being a guarantor? I.e. you’re on the line if the tenants skip out on their rent? If so, whoo-ee, no way would I put myself on the line like that for anyone other than my sister, my parents, or my best friend. And I would strongly, strongly advise my husband not to do so either.

    Anyway, I agree with Admin’s comments, with the rider that I wouldn’t judge Caroline too harshly at this stage. Depending on how well you and your husband know her, she may not have been aware of what a big favour was being done for her and Andy. I don’t like excusing rude behaviour due to circumstances, but a combination of moving stress and tiredness might go some way to explaining her bluntness. If she was stressed and tired, I think she actually phrased it fairly well.

  • Cat April 27, 2015, 12:07 pm

    I know of no one for whom I would co-sign a lease. If all this costs you and your husband is a long walk home without dinner, consider yourselves lucky.
    I cannot imagine asking someone to do something like this and not taking him out to dinner, or, at least, making sure he had eaten, taking him out for a drink, and paying for a cab or taking him home. This smacks of, “You did us a huge favor. Now, go away.”
    In future, the answer to this sort of thing is, “Sorry, we never co-sign for anyone.” If neither of them has a friend or a relative willing to co-sign, that is your warning sign that they know something you do not.
    Parents are allowed to co-sign for home loans. Co-signers just need a good credit rating; I doubt that the degree of consanguinity would make them ineligible to be co-signers.

  • Kat April 27, 2015, 12:11 pm


    Why not just straightforwardly vocalize his needs?

    GF: Sorry, it’s getting late and we have to get home.
    H: You’re right, it is getting late. Would you mind giving me a lift home? The buses have stopped running.

    Never attribute to malice… etc. And take responsibility for getting your own needs met. Maybe she didn’t know he hadn’t driven there. Or didn’t know that the buses had already stopped. Or maybe she was just tired and not thinking.

    Also, now that the co-signing is done, I’d strongly recommend coming up with a plan IN WRITING what everyone’s responsibilities are should something go wrong. E.g. if they can no longer afford to pay rent, they are responsible for finding a subletter and moving out within 60 days.

  • Marbles April 27, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I think both Op’s husband and Andy missed a clue when Caroline started looking at her watch. Andy, in particular, should have picked that up. He knows her schedule, one would hope, and what time she had to be up in the morning. She was direct in saying that it was time to wrap up, but I don’t think that makes her rude. It sounds like the husband here could benefit from stating his needs, too.

    Also, I wonder about this from the OP “When they were done, my husband and Andy started chatting in front of the building.” Does this mean that the two of them were talking about something they had in common (work?) to the exclusion of Caroline? It’s easy to fall into that when that’s their connection, but it’s really unfair to her.

    • WillyNilly April 27, 2015, 3:54 pm

      I agree the men, including the OP’s husband, missed a big clue here. This is written as though the OP expected Andy and particularly Caroline to figure out via non-verbal communication that the husband wanted assistance getting home, but it clearly points out the husband had no issue standing around chatting while noticing but ignoring Caroline’s clear body language (he obviously noticed it since he told his wife about it, the only way the letter writer would know).

  • Jewel April 27, 2015, 12:20 pm

    The dubious wisdom of co-signing for practical strangers aside, it seems to me, this is a case where your husband failed to communicate, failed to set boundaries, and is now upset that the other party didn’t magically divine his situation out of thin air.

    It was up to your husband to manage his schedule properly so that he: 1) could get something to eat; 2) wasn’t left walking 30 minutes home in the dark (don’t even get me started on how he commuted an hour for this circus at 8:00pm on a work night to begin with). Failing all that, he should have arranged with Andy ahead of time (or, at the very least, in the moment) a ride home.

    That he did none of that is now Caroline’s fault? All she did was recognize it was late and stated that it was time to go home. My advice: stop pointing fingers, take responsibility for failing to manage the situation, and help your husband learn how to polish his spine!

    • PatGreen April 28, 2015, 3:44 am

      Well put.

  • abby April 27, 2015, 12:23 pm

    “On the day of the meeting, my husband left work at 8PM and went straight to their apartment (that meant a one-hour commute). … My husband, who had come there straight from work, to help them out of a desperate situation, had missed dinner and the last bus home, was so flabbergasted that he wished them goodnight and left (it was a 30 minute walk on foot).”

    OK, a 30 min walk on foot would be about 2-3 miles, depending on how fast you walk (unless husband is a jogger, but then it would be about 4-5 miles, max). So, really, he didn’t commute an hour to help this couple. The destination of the signing was 2-5 miles from his house. He would have had an hour commute whether he helped them out or went straight home. And since it appears that the apartment he met Andy at is close in location to his own house, he could have gone home first if he wanted- this submission would make a lot more sense if the apartment was located by Husband’s work and he had stayed late to avoid having to travel an hour home and then circle back, but he was in the general vicinity of his own neighborhood for the whole transaction.

    I sense a bit of martyrdom in this post- OP and Husband are really sticking their necks out financially for this couple (that they don’t really know), and Andy and Caroline weren’t really acting very grateful once the ink was dry on the paperwork. That said, Andy is the one who asked for a favor. If you feel taken advantage of, OP, blame Andy, not Caroline.

    • WillyNilly April 27, 2015, 3:17 pm

      While I agree with many of your points, your assessment of the commute stuck out to me.

      I live in NYC. My dad & stepmom live exactly, door to door, 5 miles from me. I used to work in the same midtown office as my stepmom; her commute was via 1 express train and 20 minutes. My commute involved 2 trains and a bus and was about 85 minutes. Getting to/from our homes to the other’s home is a whole different set of transportation options. Public transportation service to different areas, even areas seemingly close ‘on paper’, can be worlds different.

    • PatGreen April 28, 2015, 3:51 am

      “That said, Andy is the one who asked for a favor. If you feel taken advantage of, OP, blame Andy, not Caroline.”


    • Lynne April 29, 2015, 12:38 am

      For me, a 30min walk is 1.5 miles 🙂